A PUBLIC meeting is to be called over the future funding of the public toilets at Poppit Sands.

The toilets are currently run by Pembrokeshire County Council but it is looking to pass on that responsibility to St Dogmaels Community Council – along with the toilets in the High Street car park.

However, the community council fears the financial implications of such a decision – and also the possible loss of the beach’s Blue Flag status if no toilet facilities are provided and the impact of that on the surrounding environment and tourism in the area.

A working party has been set up by the community council to look at all the options.

“It costs £16,000 a year to run the Poppit Sands toilets and £4,000 a year to run the toilets in the village car park,” Cllr Jo Hutchings told fellow members of St Dogmaels Community Council.

“The ones at Poppit Sands are the most expensive in Pembrokeshire to run and would need at least £100,000 spending on them to bring them up to standard.

“To rebuild the toilet block with compost toilets would cost £250-£300,000 and that would also accommodate the surf life saving club.”

She outlined half a dozen possible options, ranging from refusing to take on either toilet block to a full asset transfer.

“It would be unfair that the cost of the toilets are put on the precept of the village and would like the full council to back the idea of a public meeting,” she added.

Fellow councillors agreed and Cllr Phil Hutchings added: “It is a great concern that the minimum running costs would add an extra third to the community council precept and that’s without anything else needing doing.

“It would be a full-time job to project manage it and we don’t have the resources to deal with that.

“A full health impact assessment on the public should be carried out and what it means in terms of well-being policy.”

County councillor Mike James said he was lobbying hard at county hall to point out the consequences of losing toilets at beaches such as Poppit.

“There are currently 11 Blue Flag beaches in Pembrokeshire. We will not have one if there are no toilets,” said Cllr James.

“Pembrokeshire is proud to say they have the most Blue Flag beaches in Wales but what would be the consequence of no toilets? It does not bear thinking about.”

No date has yet been set for the public meeting.